Generations of Serving and Worshipping – Terri Denniston
Being a Lutheran Christian isn’t just accidental. It’s not just something for Sundays. It’s a way of life—something to pass on to the next generation.
This reality is entirely true for Terri Denniston, a lifelong Lutheran in Wyoming who has spent her life serving others inside and outside the church. As a speech therapist turned mother and preschool teacher, Denniston enjoys spending time with children – and since 2004 has had the joy of being a grandmother to four grandchildren.
Denniston’s whole life revolves around the church, and that’s evident by how she spends her time. Her motto, she laughed, is, “If you need something, holler!”
“Whatever it is – offering counters, vacation Bible school, Bible studies, I love doing pretty much whatever is needed at church,” she explained. “When we had a flood in the basement at church, we cleaned it out and painted walls, too. I figured that since we were making a mess, we might as well make a big mess!”
Denniston also follows in her mother and grandmother’s footsteps and serves as a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML). She’s “held nearly every office there,” including at the district level for 12 years and counting.
Just as the women in her family have been examples to her, Denniston also cares deeply about raising the next generation of Lutherans, hoping to share her values and teach children about all of the opportunities to serve cheerfully in the church. She even invited one of the daughters of a family at her church to learn more about the altar guild.
“I started letting her follow me around, and she’s loving it!” added Denniston.
While she doesn’t remember how she first heard of LCEF, Denniston is quick to share how she feels about the organization and what it’s meant for her over the years. She’s also not shy about telling everyone – family and friends – about what she’s found in LCEF.
“All of my grandkids have an LCEF account, and they love it,” she said. “I like that you know the money invested is going to build churches or schools that have the same foundation as I do. Morality is important, the church is important, and I know that I’m investing money conservatively and carefully and soundly, that it’s not being put at risk for some wild scheme out there.”
Not surprisingly, her advocacy and support is known around the district.
“Terri is the congregational representative for Our Savior in Torrington,” explained Jeff Snyder, LCEF district vice president for the LCMS Wyoming District, “and she’s been the best advocate in the district by reaching out to members of her congregation, teaching kids and grandkids about LCEF and how we save money and why. She’s always asking for more materials and is just an all-out go-getter.”
At the center of it all, Denniston feels that, because of what Christ has done, she is freed up for all of these good works through the peace that comes on account of salvation through grace by faith.
“I love that I don’t have to pay for my sins, that I have a Savior,” she said. “I love being Lutheran because I’m not a good person, and I’m glad it’s all been done for me. It’s so great being part of a confessional, warm, inviting church like Our Savior in Torrington, [Wy.] and I love that our liturgy is rich, deep and Scripture-based.”
That sentiment, too, is something beautiful to pass on to the next generation.